Thursday, August 23, 2007

GettysBLOG: A Fact Sheet on Gettysburg Battlefield Restoration

Our good friends at the National Park Service office in Gettysburg sent this Fact Sheet as part of a press release detailing some NPS anniversary events, and the re-placement of the 88th Pennsylvania Monument on Cemetery Ridge.

People with an interest in the Battlefield here have been following the Re-Hab that has been underway since before the turn of the century [ooooh, I've been waiting years to use that term!] will find this Fact Sheet of some interest:

National Park Service
Gettysburg National Military Park
Centennial Challenge Proposal

Rehabilitation of Cemetery Ridge

Key Points:
The National Park Service, in partnership with the nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation, would rehabilitate some of the most historically significant land on the Gettysburg battlefield by removing the current visitor center building, the Cyclorama building, the parking lots and roads associated with these two buildings, removal of overhead power lines, and re-establishing the historic landscapes at the center of the Union army’s battle line in July 1863.

Background:
· NPS has long-term agreements with the Gettysburg Foundation, which requires the Foundation to raise $125 million to construct new visitor facilities at a site two thirds of a mile from the current visitor facilities in an area where there was no major battle action.
· The Gettysburg Foundation’s campaign includes rehabilitation of the center of the Union battle line, historic Ziegler’s Grove, and other prominent features on Cemetery Ridge, as well as providing expanded educational opportunities for the public.
· The project area is 43.5 acres, containing historic houses, barns, fences, stone walls, and orchards, as well as commemorative features including more than 70 civil war monuments, seven of which will be relocated to their historic locations, where they had been placed by veterans of the battle, but had been subsequently moved during the construction of the Cyclorama building.
· The project also includes removal of 6,700 feet of intrusive power lines along the historic Taneytown Road corridor from Steinwehr Avenue to the horse trail crossing south of Granite School House lane. The power lines will be placed underground.
· Removal of modern intrusions, built between 1931 and 1962, is made possible by the opening of the park’s new museum/visitor center complex in 2008.
· The Foundation’s Campaign to Preserve Gettysburg has already raised $95 million.
· Mr. Robert Wilburn, former President and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, is the Gettysburg Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer.
· The project is a major initiative of the park’s 1999 General Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement.

Current Status:
· The total project cost for the rehabilitation of Cemetery Ridge is $9,588,694. The Gettysburg Foundation will provide $7,000,000. The NPS is requesting $2,588,694 from Congress.
· A Cultural Landscape Report was completed in June 2004 including site history, existing conditions, analysis & evaluation, as well as treatment plan recommendations.

Contact: Katie Lawhon, GNMP Public Affairs Specialist, 717/334-1124 x452
August 23, 2007

Thank you Katie!

For the record, we think the Park has done an absolutely magnificent job so far. View-sheds that did not exist ten years ago have been restored to their 1863 condition, and this has stimulated a marvelous re-examination of the written history in several areas, and made the historical record of other areas much more understandable. Features long hidden have once again been restored to their proper historical prominence. Visitors who have not been to the Battlefield in several years should definitely plan a return soon. Perhaps next spring's planned opening of the New Visitors Center would be a good time.

We anxiously await the restoration of Zeigler's Grove in the meantime!

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